I’ve been trying to improve my ad situation for 2 free utility apps I have written.
There are two solutions I’ve heard of to help you maximise clicks and reduce dependance on a particular ad network, they are AdWhirl and Mobclix, and offer different approaches. With AdWhirl, you sign up to as many ad networks as you want, and intergrate all their SDKs, but you use AdWhirl to mediate which ad network is shown. Requests go to its server, so you can adjust the network percentages, and API keys any time. With Mobclix, you just integrate their API, and they farm out requests to multiple networks.
Why do they both suck then?
I read a lot of information about Mobclix, and it seems they are very very slow at paying. This information was as recent as December 2010. From what I read, if you email one of the insiders (and complain publicly), they can fast track your payments. I don’t want to waste my time trying to chase up payments. This is a non-starter. All the tech in the world is useless if you don’t get the money you have earn’t. I don’t really care for claims that “it’s better now” or “it’s improving”, this is something that should be right from day 1 (and like I said, I have read about very recent problems), otherwise it’s nothing more than a Ponzi scam.
AdWhirl is a great idea, but suffers from a few design defects that prevent me from using it. Firstly, there is no iPad support. Everything was wonderful back when there was just the iPhone and 320×50 ads, but now we have many different sizes, and it seems, at least for now, that they couldn’t work out a good way to mediate it all.
Another problem with AdWhirl is that you select percentages for your networks (including house ads), then it has a backfill list that it tries in order. My problem with this, is that I *always* want it to go to iAd first. iAds are just that much more profitable. But when I do this (by setting iAds to 100%), I lose the mediation percentages feature, and it just goes down my backfill one by one.
The nail in the coffin for AdWhirl is that it was bought out by AdMob (which was bought out by Google). It’s open source, so there is a measure of trust that it is not favouring AdMob – but the problem here, is that AdMob have very little incentive to continue development, since it basically has the affect of reducing requests to their own network. So I get the impression the code base is languishing unmaintained. Yes it’s open source – but no, I don’t want to spend my time working for AdMob unpaid…
So I implemented a custom solution. Actually in less time than I spent fooling around with AdWhirl, et. al. Basically I request an iAd. If there isn’t one, I request an AdMob one [can sub in any other network here, if AdMob disappoints] (which internally will use house ads for unfilled requests), and if *that* fails, I show a static ad I bundled with the App. It’s really not that hard to setup, and AdMob seem pretty decent. This also works great for iPad.
AdMob however does not have the ability for iPad house ads. This is very lame – the iPad is over a year old, and how hard can it be to simply offer a different size for house ads? Very disappointing, but for now, it’s not worth my time to worry about it.
AdMob have an interesting ad exchange idea. So if you can’t display any paid ads, it will display an add for someone else’s app – and someone will then display one for yours, free!